In The News


SSCM is pleased to announce another client win by partner Kevin Cauley. Client McCullough Plumbing was recently on a federal project, and sued the prime contractor and payment bond surety, alleging it had not been paid in full.

In United States ex rel. McCullough Plumbing, Inc. v. Halbert Construction Company, Inc., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 212121 (S.D. Cal. December 17, 2018), a subcontractor on a federal project sued the prime contractor and payment bond surety, alleging that it had not been paid in full.  The defendants moved for partial summary judgment with respect to the damages the subcontractor was seeking.  In particular, the defendants argued that the “no damages for delay” clause in the subcontract precluded recovery of delay damages.  The court analyzed whether the “no damages for delay” clause complied with the Miller Act.  The court rejected the defendants’ argument that such a clause concerned only the measure of recovery and was not a waiver of the subcontractor’s right of recovery.  The defendants asserted that the measure of recovery was limited to an extension of time.  The court stated, “The No Damage for Delay clause plainly affects McCullough’s right of recovery of increased out-of-pocket costs caused by construction delays under the Miller Act.”  The court held that the clause was an unenforceable waiver of the subcontractor’s rights under the Miller Act.  The court denied the motion for partial summary judgment. 

Congratulations, Kevin!


Schwartz Semerdjian partner John Moot recently won a long-standing property right dispute, overturning a City of Chula Vista Planning Commission decision to put in a car wash that would have negatively impacted the neighbors and nearby business owners with the traffic and noise of the proposed project. The Chula Vista City Council voted 4-1 to accept the appeal and deny the Conditional Use Permit much to the relief of the 82-year-old neighbor who first opposed the project. Congratulations, John! To view KUSI News recent coverage of the story click here.


Schwartz Semerdjian partner Sarah Evans begins her two-year term as vice chair of the Friends of Balboa Park’s board of directors. The nonprofit whose mission is to preserve and enhance the park for future generations, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, during which Sarah will also serve as chair of its governance committee. For more information about the Friends and their latest projects, visit


Schwartz Semerdjian partner John Moot, after a three week land use trial, won a convincing verdict against the Metropolitan Transit Authority after a long battle over public access to an intercity bus terminal at the world’s busiest land port of entry in San Ysidro. The story has been followed by several news outlets including the San Diego Union Tribune which reported on the verdict. Congratulations, John! To view the San Diego Union Tribune article click here.


Schwartz Semerdjian Cauley & Moot is pleased to announce that it has acquired Small & Schena LLP, and that attorneys William F. Small and John A. Schena will be joining the firm as partners effective January 2, 2019.  With a focus on business litigation, employment law, intellectual property and related practice areas, Small and Schena will add nearly two decades of combined litigation experience in state and federal courts throughout California to Schwartz Semerdjian’s extensive roster of expertise. 

“We couldn’t be more excited about Will and John joining our firm,” said Managing Partner Ross Schwartz.  “John actually started his career with our firm in 2009 as a law clerk. When he left to join Will in 2014, we continued to work with both of them and are thrilled that things have come full circle and they are joining Schwartz Semerdjian.  They are both exceptional attorneys and great people, and will make a welcome addition to our team.”

Schwartz Semerdjian will continue its extensive practice in civil trial and appellate practice in state and federal courts, with an emphasis in business and commercial litigation, employment litigation and labor counseling, construction litigation, personal injury, wrongful death, product liability, officers and directors liability, professional liability, insurance defense, intellectual property, including trademark and copyright, and unfair competition litigation.

William F. Small - Prior to joining Schwartz Semerdjian, William Small was a partner in his own law practice, Small & Schena LLP, and before that served as senior counsel at the San Diego office of Gordon & Rees.  His practice focuses on business and employment litigation as well as professional liability and defamation litigation.  William also advises clients on legal issues ranging from contracts to compliance with employment laws - with the goal of avoiding litigation.   

William is active in the San Diego legal community, serving as Chair of the San Diego County Bar Association's Civil Litigation Executive Committee in 2016 and 2017.  Some of his recent accolades include being named a San Diego County Top Attorney in Corporate Litigation in 2015 by the San Diego Daily Transcript, Best of the Bar in 2015 and 2016 by the San Diego Business Journaland a Rising Star in 2017 by Super Lawyers.

William obtained his Bachelors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law.  He and his family reside in the Point Loma neighborhood of San Diego.

John A. Schena - John Schena founded Small & Schena LLP with William Small in 2014.  John is a litigator focusing on the resolution of business disputes, with an emphasis on fiduciary duty, contract, privacy law, commercial torts, trade secret, trademark, and copyright matters.  He has successfully prosecuted and defended actions to final judgment on behalf of both public and private entities, as well as individuals, throughout California.  He has extensive experience with bench and jury trials, as well as arbitration and administrative law proceedings.

John has dedicated pro bono hours to the formation and assistance of many local nonprofits, including sitting on the board of directors of CompassionIt and Bosh Bosh.  A frequent contributor to Trial Bar News, the monthly periodical of the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, John has written articles regarding identification of misappropriated trade secrets in litigation, managing the costs of discovery, the scope of the attorney-client privilege, and effective summary judgment practice.  Some of his recent accolades include being named a Rising Star in 2016, 2017, and 2018 by Super Lawyers, being recognized as a Super Lawyer in 2019, and being named to the Best of the Bar 2015 and 2017 by the San Diego Business Journal.

John obtained his Bachelors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law.  He, his fiancé, and sonlive in the San Diego neighborhood of South Park.

About Schwartz Semerdjian

Schwartz Semerdjian specializes in business counseling and transactional services in corporate and entity formation, real estate, business sales and acquisitions, employment, landlord/tenant, commercial, licensor/licensee, and probate, trusts and estate planning.